New Report: Voting in Jails
Date:  05-08-2020

Report highlights jurisdictions across the country that support ballot accessing for people in jail
From The Sentencing Project:

The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified calls to improve voter access during the 2020 election cycle. The Sentencing Project’s commitment to the enfranchisement of people who are incarcerated or have criminal records motivates us to echo those calls. One large group of voters that has long been left out of the electoral process are the 700,000 people held in local jails around the country. The vast majority of these individuals are eligible to vote because they are either awaiting trial or are serving a sentence for a misdemeanor conviction, but not a felony. Yet few jurisdictions have established a process where people in jails can vote.

As localities consider voting best practices, a new report from The Sentencing Project highlights jurisdictions around the country that actively support ballot access for residents detained in local jails through absentee voting or jail-based polling sites. These initiatives should serve as models to be adopted by all jail systems in order to ensure that individuals housed there do not forfeit their rights of citizenship.

Reforms highlighted in the report include:

  • Community Initiatives – Civic groups in Denver and Los Angeles partnered with local officials to establish civic education programs in jails.

  • Polling Locations – Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington DC authorized local jails as official polling locations.

  • Voter Registration – Groups in Houston and Philadelphia launched community-based initiatives to support voter registration efforts for incarcerated residents.

    Please be in touch with Nicole D. Porter, The Sentencing Project’s Director of Advocacy at to learn more and to discuss how we can support your efforts in expanding the vote to justice involved residents.

    Read the full report here.